Freedom Fighter Outdoors is a nonprofit organization focused on showing gratitude to our nation’s injured service veterans and their families for all that they have sacrificed. FFO’s main purpose is to raise awareness and seek public aid for the needs of, and services and activities for, injured veterans. The organization helps injured veterans through teamwork-based recreational outdoor activities, providing unique, once-in-a-lifetime outdoor experiences to honor and empower these injured veterans.
Freedom Fighter Outdoors founder and president Vinnie LaSorsa has loved sharing outdoor experiences with others his entire life. That love helped him create Freedom Fighter Outdoors in 2009. Get to know Vinnie and FFO better below:
Garmin: What inspired you to start FFO?
Vinnie: It was a few things. I had become much more aware of the growing number of injured veterans after my youngest brother’s military service in the USMC. I also felt the need to give back to this country to offset the guilt I felt for not serving. I was compelled to help in any way I could.
Garmin: How long has FFO been around?
Vinnie: We started the trips in May 2009, but we incorporated as a 501(c)(3) in February 2014.
Garmin: What does FFO do for veterans?
Vinnie: We take veterans on organized outdoor activities. We believe these activities and events help make the transition from the armed services to civilian life a little easier. The activities and events also are meant to show our gratitude for their service.
Garmin: What has been your favorite moment or moments?
Vinnie: When Jimmy Buffett surprises the veterans with an appearance. Their faces and reactions are priceless. For the past several years, Jimmy Buffett and his company Margaritaville have supported FFO. This support has helped take our injured veterans out on ocean fishing voyages. These voyages create lasting memories for our veterans. They often have the time of their lives.
Garmin: What is the most rewarding part of FFO?
Vinnie: When the veteran’s family members tell us how the veteran who attended the event is a changed person. That they are now smiling, laughing and outgoing. And when the veterans contact us to tell us their lives are forever changed, it’s is one of the greatest feelings in the world. We get a lot of wives and mothers who contact us to thank us, and share that they were on the brink of losing their husband to divorce or son to a strained relationship and now their world is whole again because of the veteran’s change in behavior. Or when the veterans email or text us to say that they would be dead without FFO. When you hear those words, it puts everything in perspective.
Garmin: What does the future look like for FFO?
Vinnie: The future of FFO is bright. We are constantly increasing the quality of our veteran trips with nicer places to stay, better food, and more importantly, we are increasing our database of veterans thanks to fundraising efforts by our veterans and donors. We have launched an outreach program made up of injured veterans who are willing to mentor new veterans.
Garmin: How can people contribute or get connected with FFO?
Vinnie: People can contribute by going to the website and donating at www.freedomfighteroutdoors.org or inquire about donating services or goods and volunteering via email: [email protected].